Royal Liverpool’s revamped par-3 17th ‘could be pretty interesting’
HOYLAKE, England – They don’t really do new at The Open Championship. At places like Royal Liverpool, which joined the championship rotation in ’97 … that’s 1897, history is measured in centuries, which makes this week’s addition so out of character.
For this year’s championship, the R&A has rerouted Hoylake with Nos. 16 and 17 from the 2014 Open played at Royal Liverpool now playing as the 15th and 16th holes, followed by a new 17th hole, a 136-yard par 3 with a rounded green and plenty of bunkers.
Although it remains to be seen how the new hole will be received when play begins, early reviews from players have been lukewarm.
“I see what they tried to do. The old 15, par 3, was the complete opposite of the hole. You have a short downhill hole most likely downwind with basically all the edges sloping towards the center of the green. I thought it was a good hole. You could make a birdie, and if you miss the green, a bogey was lurking,” Jon Rahm said. “This time they made a really difficult turtle shell par 3. If you hit a good shot, put it on the green, you have a clear look at birdie. If you miss the green, you have a clear look at bogey.”
While Rahm’s description was shared by many, the Spaniard dismissed the idea that the hole could be unfair.
“I would say it’s fair, because it’s unfair to everybody. Like it’s golf, and it’s life. Simple as that,” he said. “We all have to play the same holes.”
Others were a bit more optimistic the new hole would prove to be a worthy test at one of the game’s oldest and most iconic golf courses.
“I think it’s an interesting hole. Depends on the wind. If you get a cross wind there, it could be pretty interesting,” Brooks Koepka said. “I’m a big believer in the short par 3s, make it difficult, exactly like that. I’m not a huge fan of 260, 250 [yard par 3s]. It takes, I don’t want to say the excitement out of it, but it’s kind of boring. I think all the best par 3s in the world that have ever been designed are 165 yards or shorter, the 12th at Augusta, [No. 17 at] Sawgrass. I mean, Postage Stamp [No. 8 at Royal Troon]. There’s a bunch of them, and you can walk away with 5 just as easy as you could make birdie. I like it.”